On April 27, 2013, Ulitmate Fighter winners Michael Bisping and Roy Nelson will take on Alan Belcher and Chieck Kongo, respectively at UFC 159. Years after winning their seasons of the Ultimate Fighter, neither fighter has lived up to the hype they developed as winners of the show. Bisping was viewed as the key to developing a UFC presence in England. He came into the show as a skilled striker with a brash personality that could possibly challenge for the middleweight title at some point in his career.
Thus far, while he has been successful in generating some interest in mixed martial arts in England, he has never developed the skills to become England’s first UFC champion. In that sense he has been a disappointment. The funny part is that the UFC has done everything in their power to match Bisping up with favorably fighters in order to propel him towards a title shot. Yet, every time he has gotten close to a title shot, he has come up about one fight short of taking on Anderson Silva. He was probably one fight away from a title shot when he took on Dan Henderson: he was knocked out in brutal fashion. After his loss to Wanderlei Silva, he went on a four fight win streak and took on Chael Sonnen for a probable shot at the title: he lost again.
Bisping will likely get one more chance to put together a win streak and challenge for the title. On the other hand, Roy Nelson has shown he will never have the skills to challenge for the UFC Heavyweight title. He came into TUF 10 as a highly touted veteran with strong grappling and powerful hands. While he has shown his powerful hands he has yet to really use his Jiu-Jitsu in the UFC octagon. He has developed into a fun, tough fighter but not a particularly smart one. As a result, it has been disappointing to see a high-level blackbelt limit himself to throwing overhand rights. He is a good heavyweight fighter but his lack of fight IQ (along with his lack of takedown ability) limits him to ever reaching the upper echelon of the UFC. Nelson, though, seems content to put on good fights and take home his bonuses.
Both of these fighters seemed to have greater potential than what they have achieved. Bisping has always had mental lapses (like his incorrect circling during the Dan Henderson fight) that have hurt him in his career. Nelson has accepted his role as a mid-card banger, which has been a little disappointing in it’s own right.
Photo Credits – Rob Chenoy and Tom Szczerbowski – USA Today Sports